Systemax SV14-C10

The Good Inexpensive; includes DVD-ROM drive; plays MP3s without booting.

The Bad Slow; short battery life; no CD-RW or floppy drive for backups.

The Bottom Line The Systemax is a practical, average-performing notebook that could be a reasonable purchase for users on a budget.

Editors' Rating
6.0 Overall

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Systemax SV14-C10
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Review

Systemax SV14-C10

For its SV14-C10 notebook, Systemax has pulled together a combination of basic components and a few extras, all at such a low price that even seasoned bargain hunters will be impressed. What the SV14-C10 lacks in speed and battery life might dismay frequent fliers, but it strikes a decent balance if you're strapped for funds or just need a second laptop for occasional use. For its SV14-C10 notebook, Systemax has pulled together a combination of basic components and a few extras, all at such a low price that even seasoned bargain hunters will be impressed. What the SV14-C10 lacks in speed and battery life might dismay frequent fliers, but it strikes a decent balance if you're strapped for funds or just need a second laptop for occasional use.

I want my MP3
While you shouldn't expect much from a notebook as inexpensive as the $1,167 SV14-C10, it has a few distinctive features to its credit. The front edge of CNET's test unit sports a row of buttons and a small, upward-tilted LCD. Although such displays usually only indicate system status, the LCD and buttons on this notebook run a built-in MP3 player, which you can enjoy without opening the lid or booting the system. Stereo speakers flank the MP3 controls and sound surprisingly loud and rich. In an Apple-esque touch, Systemax made the keyboard out of translucent blue plastic. It looks cool, but under certain lighting conditions, distracting reflections shine up through the keys as you type. The keyboard has a solid feel; only the Backspace key is too small. A scroll button is sandwiched between the left- and right-click buttons beneath the touchpad.

The notebook's good-sized, 14.1-inch (diagonal) screen renders saturated colors; the 1,024x768 native resolution fits the display size well, but a higher resolution might make more efficient use of the space. The display managed good color and crisp detail on static images and text; however, when we ran a movie on the installed 8X DVD-ROM drive, the image turned slightly blurry and went flat. The degradation is probably due to the integrated SIS 630s graphics controller, which relies on system memory for processing. This saves money but hobbles the system's overall performance and still offers only limited graphics capability.

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Specs / Prices

  • Brand Systemax Inc.
  • Type Celeron
  • Installed Size 128 MB
  • Edition Windows XP Home Edition
  • Capacity 20 GB
  • Diagonal Size 14.1 in
  • Chipset Type SiS630S
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